Paper Money

Where businesses are refusing traditional currency

Traditional forms of currency like the illustrated €10 note are no longer recognized as legal tender in some stores in Netherlands, where many outlets are deciding to only accept pin or debit cards.

Original images courtesy of European Central Bank.

As much as cash remains an essential part of daily life in countries such as Germany and Switzerland, the exact opposite may be true not far from those borders. 

And, at least according to the BBC, it may be on the verge of extinction in some places. 

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The news service reported in a story by Lauren Comiteau on Sept. 29 that cash is no longer recognized as legal tender in some stores in Netherlands, where many outlets are deciding to only accept pin or debit cards. Some retailers, Comiteau says, “describe going cash-free as “cleaner” or “safer.”

She decided to find out for herself, and could not use cash for rent, telephone bills, a tuna sandwich, or even parking. The longest line at the supermarket was for cash transactions.

Saying that noncash payments are faster, safer, and more convenient, Dutch banks and merchants are striving for 60 percent of all payments to be electronic by 2018. Across the border in Germany, payments are still 75 percent in cash.

Netherlands has come a long way in not so many years. When I first went there in 1984, I was looked at quizzically in nontourist restaurants when I tried to use a credit card to pay for a meal. Dutch people either used cash or wrote a check on their account at the postal bank. When I asked, they said they could not imagine paying any other way.


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